China Style

Just like the mixture of various syllables in the Chinese dialects, Chinese fashion has its own set of rules when it comes to accents and embellishments.  Such a wide array of textures, patterns, and style combined in one look illustrates what Americans may consider a Hodge Podge, a clash of elements, or uncoordinated.  Regardless of what may be acceptable to Americans, Chinese fashion continues to fascinate me.  Perhaps the following set of unspoken guidelines is what makes Chinese style continually intriguing:

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Is That Chicken?

My earliest memories of Chinese food are not those of a quick trip to Panda Express with a mall full of squealing kids and the sound of anxious footsteps.  Instead, I’m taken back to the smell of fried noodles, freshly steamed Char Siu Baos (buns with barbecued pork), the delicious aroma of garlic and chicken, and the salty savory sauce of Black Bean Spareribs.  Although I realize our trip to China will not be days of a three entrée plate of Kung Pao Chicken, Fried Rice, and Egg Rolls, I have a secret hope of plates filled with Bok Choy, Chinese Broccoli, Shumai, Tofu, Baos (dumplings) with coconut filling, and Egg Tarts.  Since the dishes of Northern China are very different from those of my Cantonese Popo, I embark on the following observations: Continue Reading ›

Highlights of Northern China

In preparation for my journey to China, my supervisor, Su-Lin, eagerly instructs me on various Mandarin phrases.  Having learned small portions of a Cantonese dialect, my knowledge of Mandarin is limited.

“Brooke, how do you say ‘Hello’?” Su-Lin, my draper, asks.

“Ni Hao,” I reply.

“How do you say ‘My name is Brooke’?” Su-Lin says.

I pull out the only phrase in Mandarin I know: “Pang Yee Tah Mah, Brooke,” I respond with a smile.  Su-Lin laughs at my response, which translates to: “Can I have it cheaper, Brooke.”
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From the Ashes

It seems like only yesterday since the hot windy desert flew past my window and turned into lush green hillsides on I-215.  With my car packed of multiple suitcases, plastic bins of cooking supplies and spices, and cartons of craft projects, I look straight ahead to the sun shining in my mirror.  I carry more than material items; my luggage is full of disappointment, heartbreak, and family sorrow.  Every aspect of my future seems uncertain and no matter how I attempt to remedy it, I seem to be stuck where I started.  I continually tell myself that if life is going to stick me in square one with blank walls, then I will find a way to paint them.  Although I have multiple paint cans, they seem to run dry as I struggle to open the lids and my paintbrush seems to lose its bristles.  My inspiration has literally dried up and I feel as though there is no way to pick my spirits up to see any possibilities ahead.

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